As I finish up the exterior of the camper it’s time to start designing the interior. I’ve been kicking around different ideas since I started this project but I haven’t sat down and laid it out till now. This is the first camper that I’ve built so it is possible I’m forgetting some things but I think I have a pretty good idea of what needs to go inside. I have been trying really hard not to set deadlines but I am quickly approaching the date in which I need to be back in Colorado for a month so I may not be able to complete the entire project before I leave.
This isn’t the biggest personal project I have ever taken on but it’s up there. At work I have regularly taken on big construction projects priced in the millions of dollars but that’s different than a personal project. At work I have a have a chain of people to ask for guidance, from fellow employees to my boss to the architect. On a personal project I may be able to ask questions about certain things but the overall design and build is entirely up to me. It can be overwhelming on a project this big trying to lock down every detail before starting. Instead I start with the main overview then compartmentalize and focus on the details in sections.
As I’ve been moving along I have been making a list of “must haves” and “nice to haves” in my head and as I lay it all out I’ve had to get rid of a few “nice to haves”, like a wood burning heater, but it all has to fit or it can’t go. Here is the basic layout.
Starting from the entrance, as you come through the door, on the left will be the kitchen. I looked at a lot of built in stove/sink combos and didn’t really care for any of them. I wanted to keep the counter top small but also have a bigger sink basin for washing dishes and what not. I decided to go with a mounted sink but use my portable two burner camp stove instead of a built in. I will make a cover to go over the sink for prep and cooking. This will also allow me to cook outside when it’s nice out without having to buy anything extra. The propane tank will be under the sink in a separate compartment that will be accessible from the outside and be vented to the outside as well. Also in a separate compartment under the sink will be the battery bank, inverter, charge controllers, etc that will be accessible from inside the cabin but be vented to the outside. I have purchased a 12v hood vent built for RVs to go above the cooking area that will exhaust to the outside.
To the right the fridge and a storage cabinet. The fridge I have opens from the top so I will build a shelf on drawer slides so I can pull the fridge out to get into it. The cabinet above the fridge will be basic, probably have shelves for dishes but I haven’t decided yet.
When I was first designing this camper I did a lot of internet research and got a lot of ideas from different companies and diy builders. Most of the ideas were pretty basic, you have a number of things that have to fit in a small space and you have to get a little creative. There where a couple of ideas I took that I thought were really innovative and I want to credit the company that I got them from, Four Wheel Camper. The first of these ideas is the location of the shower between the bench seats with a curtain that comes up from the pan to the ceiling. The other idea I got from them was the storage under the bed for clothing. I’m not sure if they were the first to come up with these ideas but I thought they did them well. They have a lot of other great design ideas and if I were looking to buy a camper instead of building I would be looking at one of theirs for sure.
With the shower in the middle of the two bench seats I had to get creative with the seats themselves. I want to be comfortable when I’m sitting and I’m kind of a big guy (6’3″ 230lbs) so a compact bench wouldn’t do. I need them to move out of the way when I’m not showering and somehow turn into a bed in case I have a guest. What I came up with is a bracket with a slot in it mounted to the wall to allow the back of the seat to move up and down. For the back support a sheet of 3/4″ plywood with pins going into the slots on top will be attached to the seat with a piano hinge. This will be on top of a small storage ares and on the front of the storage will be a piece of plywood with slots in it that will slide up and down to prop the seat up or drop down for a platform to sit on top of it.
At the end of the month I need to be in Colorado for a race and after the race I have a few events that will keep me in CO till the end of May. This has put a little bit of a deadline on completing this project. I will not have the access to welding or other metal fabrication equipment once I leave but I have all of my wood working equipment in CO so I just have to make sure all of the metal work is done before I go. There is a possibility I will need to return to California after May to finish helping my friend at his metal shop but I’m trying to avoid it if I can. I’m hoping to be on the road full time after this month.